People of Brookline

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Gertrude Steese, 1886
1875 - 1963; parents: Edward Steese and Ellen Bradley Sturtevant; married, 1896, Norman Hill White; lived at 105 Gardner Rd.; buried Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Her father was a physician turned wool merchant. In 1896, she married Norman Hill White. The wedding was held in the house of her parents at 105 Gardner Rd. and was considered to be a major event on the social calendar. The couple lived at several nearby locations until the death of Gertrude’s father, in 1902, when they moved in with her mother at the Gardner Road house. They continued to live there unit his imprisonment for larceny in 1927.

Her husband owned a bookbinding firm and a publishing company and served as state representative from Brookline for five years. He was an ally of Louis Brandeis, later the first Jewish justice of the United Supreme Court, in several policy battles and was a vigorous defender of Brandeis when the latter faced opposition to his appointment to the high court. Oddly, just four years after Brandeis’ accession to the court, White’s company published the first American edition of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is unclear what role White had in its publication; he worked in military intelligence during the First World War and may have been exposed to anti-Bolshevik, anti-Jewish propaganda. He later ran into financial difficulties and served two-and-a-half years in prison for larceny for securing bank loans based on false statements. He died in 1951.